3 Safe Suncare Brands

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What to Avoid in Sunscreens


Conventional sunscreens contain one or more of the three major ingredients listed below that are not good for our health.

  1. Oxybenzone: Oxybenzone is linked to allergies, immunotoxicity, and organ system as well as  developmental/reproductive toxicity. 

  2. Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate): Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) is linked to biochemical or cellular level changes, cancer and organ system toxicity. 

  3. Added insect repellents: Added insect repellents can be irritating to the skin when the improper ingredients are used.


None of these ingredients are good for you or your health and it is best to use some form of safer sunscreen. In addition to these ingredients, you want to stay away from SPF above 50. That’s more of a marketing tool and not necessary, plus the ingredients to get more than SPF 50 have a tendency to hazardous. Also stay away from powders, since the SPF doesn’t really stick to your skin. Sprays are great, but you want to make sure the SPF is actually on your skin after spraying.

What to Look For in Sunscreens

When purchasing sunscreens look for ingredients like zinc oxide, avobenzone, and mexoryl SX, which are safe and effective to bounce or reflect the sun’s rays away from the skin!

Use creams, broad - spectrum protection, water-resistant, and SPF between 15 and 50. These SPFs will give you the protection you need without hurting your skin.

Some of my favorite sunscreens

There are three sunscreen brands that I like. They’re harmless, some claim to harmless, and they are effective.

  1. Coola: Coola is a mineral and organic suncare brand that specializes in making safe sunscreen. They make suncreens in creams, tinted moisturizers, sprays, and so much more!

  2. Josie Maran Cosmetics: I love Josie’s products and have been using them on and off for 11 years. Seriously, since Josie Maran began her company. She makes two SPF creams, one is a tinted moisturizer and the other is not. Both are SPF 47 and they include UVA/UVB protection and “unique blend of antioxidants, skin-soothers, and hydrators”

  3. Beautycounter: Now I must fully disclaim that I’m a Beautycounter consultant and I love their mission to create safer, better beauty. Beautycounter creates sunscreen that uses Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which actually bounce or reflect off the sun's rays away from the skin! Their sunscreen is mineral based, which is also great for babies and kids. 


Switch to Safer

If you haven’t joined the movement to switch to safer beauty, I invite you today to do so. There are many brands that are fighting to create safer and better beauty products for the whole family. Safer skincare and beauty is better for your health and the health of your family.

Make the Switch today!

xo, Mirley

www.beautycounter.com/mirleygraf

Resources

  1. “Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47.” Josie Maran Cosmetics, 2018, www.josiemarancosmetics.com/collections/bestsellers/products/argan-daily-moisturizer-spf-47-with-sunboost-atb.

  2. “Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 – 6.7 Oz.” Beautycounter, 2018, www.beautycounter.com/product/countersun-mineral-sunscreen-lotion-spf-30.

  3. “ EWG’s Guide to Safer Safer Sunscreens Sunscreens Be Safe in the Sun This Summer.” Environmental Working Group, July 2017, www.ewg.org/sunscreen.

  4. “Our Story - Our Ethos - COOLA HQ.” COOLA Suncare, 2018, coolasuncare.com/pages/about.

Ingredients that should not be in your beauty products

As I got more and more into health and wellness, I learned that it was not only important to eat healthy but to be mindful of what we put on our bodies. It started off with learning about parabens. One day many companies were promoting themselves as an anti-paraben company. I wasn't sure what a paraben was so I did a little research. Turns about parabens may be a hormone disruptor, which can be found in our beauty products and food!

As a result, I decided to use more natural beauty products. Products that were safe and effective. As I was learning, it turns out that there were other ingredients that we need to avoid like fragrance and parfum. Now, I personally new that I needed to avoid any products with that mysterious ingredient because there was always a high chance that I was going to get a headache as a result. 

As I learned more, it turns out that there are many ingredients that shouldn't be in your beauty products. Many of the names are extremely complicated to remember and pronounce. Plus it's really hard to remember which ingredients to avoid! After all, synthetic but safe ingredients also have complicated names. 

Thankfully, when I joined Beautycounter, they have an amazing Never List. There company makes a point to not use harmful ingredients and are always testing and researching safe ingredients to use in their beauty products. This makes it so much easier to shop with them because you don't have to read the labels anymore! 

In the picture below are just some of the ingredients that you should avoid in your beauty products. 

P.S. If you want to learn more about Beautycounter, go to www.beautycounter.com/mirleygraf

Have you heard of the Healthy Living App?

I recently found out about the healthy living app when I re-joined Beautycounter. The app is amazing because when one scans the bar code on products, the app will show the list of ingredients and the hazard level for each ingredient. 

This is important because not everything that we purchase is safe whether it's food or skincare and cosmetics, we want it to be safe for us and our families. It's really difficult and time consuming to try and see what is safe and what isn't. This is why I love this app. It makes it easy for us to just scan the bar codes and make an educated decision as to whether or not one should purchase the item. 

You can learn more about it here! 

P.S. If you're interested in changing your beauty products to safer and effective ones, please check out www.beautycounter.com/mirleygraf

xo, Mirley

doTerra Products Safe for Children

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doTerra has created great products for children that are safe to use. I'm very proud to be a part of a company that is dedicated to bringing safe and natural products to everyone's household. 

First is doTerra's Touch Kit. doTerra's touch kit are essential oils that are diluted in fractionated coconut oil in a roller ball that is easy to use on adults and children. This kit comes with some of doTerra's most popular essential oils like frankincense, lavender, melaleuca and more. You can apply these oils to your wrists or temples of your head. 

Another great kit that is safe for children is emotional aromatherapy touch. Essential oils are wonderful for uplifting the mood in a person. doTerra's Emotional Aromatherapy Touch kit are essential oils that have been diluted in fractionated coconut oil and placed into a roller ball. You can apply these oils to your wrists or temples of your head. 

In addition to creating great essential oils, doTerra also has created nutritional supplements for children. PB Assist Jr is a probiotic that comes in a powder form designed for children to improve their guy heatlh. This probiotic is a blend of six probiotic strains that are especially beneficial for children. It also has a delicious strawberry flavor to it that kids enjoy. The powder can be poured directly into the child's mouth, or mixed into smoothie, water or even yogurt. 

doTerra also has created children's multivitamin chewables. These vitamins make it easier to swallow than a capsule or a pill. These chewables do not contain high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial flavors or sweeteners. These chewables contain a wonderful blend of vitamins A, B, E and C. They are safe for children 4 years of age and older.

Furthermore, doTerra has created IQMega, an omega supplement that is flavored with wild orange essential oil. It is concentrated with omega-3 fatty acids and is desinged with work well with a2z chewables. 

Lastly, doTerra just came out with the most beautiful children's bath kit. It comes with a Baby Hair & Body Wash, Baby Lotion, and a Baby Diaper Rash Cream. They have a pleasant "baby" smell that is made from Vanilla Extract, Lavender, and Roman Chamomile essential oils. These oils are perfect for bath time before going to bed at night. It's a beautiful way to wind down. 

If you have any questions regarding any of doTerra's baby products, please leave me your questions in the comment section below and I will be happy to answer them. Also, feel free to join my Facebook Group: How to Oils, where you will get more tutorial and lesson on how to use essential oils safely & effectively. 

7 Benefits to Using Essential Oils

Essential oils are a big thing now. So many people are using them as part of their everyday lives. However, there are many more people that are not using them, or using them incorrectly. In addition, there may be others that don't know the benefits of using essential oils. Essential oils are a great addition to your health and wellness lifestyle. 

The benefits of using essential oils are great! Essential oils can improve your life so much even if you eat well and exercise. Essential will add even greater benefits to your healthy lifestyle.

Benefit #1: Improves Sleep

If you're having a hard time getting to sleep at night using essential oils can help. One can add 1 drop of lavender oil along with 1 TSP of a carrier oil and rub it on your tummy because your tummy is one of the most absorbent parts of your body. Of course you can also place up to 5 drops in a diffuser and let it run while your sleep or you can diffuse doTerra's Serenity: Restful Blend oil. Lastly, you can take a detox bath using 1 cup of Epson salts, 1 TBS of jojoba oil and one 2 to 3 drops of Serenity blend. 

Benefit #2: Reduces Stress & Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are a very common part of our society. With so many things to do, so many deadlines, so many interruptions, and not enough time in the day one can get stressed out and with stress, anxiety can build up. In fact, studies have shown that high levels of stress can lead to illnesses like high blood pressure. Essential oils can help keep one calm. There are a variety of oils that can help reduce stress like ylang ylang, neroli, Roman chamomile, orange, and frankincense. You can breathe in the aroma straight from the bottle without applying it, or you can diffuse up to 5 drops from one or more of the essential oils mentioned. You can also diffuse dōTERRA Balance: Grounding blend, which helps you stay calm during moments of tension. 

Benefit #3: Improves Mood & Energy Levels

Essential oils are great for improving your mood. Smell can bring up so many happy memories or allow you to think positive lovely thoughts. Some oils can actually increase oxygen to your brain. Oils to diffuse include bergamont, grapefruit, lemon, lemongrass, eucalyptus, rosemary , and doTerra's Elevation: Joyful Blend. You can also get a massage home using doTerra's AromaTouch® Massage Blend.

Benefit #4: Reduces Brain Fog

Brain fog affects people of all ages. Unfortunately, the food or non-foods, as I call them, that are in our processed foods affect our body chemistry, which aside from leading weight gain it also leads to brain fog, and ADHD. Although one may stop eating such foods, you may still experience brain fog just due to all of the shiny objects around us. Diffusing essential oils while working or applying them to your wrists may help you stay focused. Try diffusing vetiver, peppermint, frankincense or a blend of the oils I just mentioned. You can also apply doTerra's InTune to your wrists to help reduce brain fog. 

Benefit #5: Helps Balance Hormones

Essential oils do not have hormones but they do help balance them. Oils, like clary sage, geranium and thyme, are known to help to balance one's estrogen and progesterone levels. These oils can help improve hormone conditions like infertility, PCOS, PMS and menopause symptoms. In addition, doTERRA® Phytoestrogen Lifetime Complex, which is a supplement made with plant-based phytoestrogens, flax seed extract, and pomegranate extract. The purpose is to work with hormone deficiency or decrease the affect of harmful metabolites or block xenoestrogens. Also, during your menstrual cycle you can use ClaryCalm, which helps ease the pain.

Benefit #6: Improves Skin & Hair Beauty

Adding essential oils to your skincare or purchasing skincare that contains essential oils will improve your skin's texture, reduce acne, reduce signs of aging, and brighten it's appearance. Many conventional skincare products are full of toxic chemicals that can affect our hormones in a negative way. In addition, studies have shown to help one's hair grow. The best oils for your skin and hair include, lavender, Roman chamomile, frankincense, tea tree, geranium, myrrh, helichrysum, rosemary and clary sage. You can also try doTerra's skincare and haircare products. All of which have safe and effective ingredients as well as using their very own essential oils. 

Benefit #7: Reduces Pain

Essential oils are great to reduce minor pains and aches. I personally use peppermint oil on my temples to reduce headaches. You can add the following oils topically lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, chamomile, rosemary, majoram, thyme, frankincense, turmeric, ginger and myrrh depending on where the pain is. Make sure that you apply with a carrier oil so that you don't burn your skin. ClaryCalm, for example, is a great ready made blend from doTerra to help reduce menstrual cramps. 

All in all, essential oils are a great addition to your health and wellness. However, I must note that essential oils do not replace eating health and exercising. Essential oils just completes one's wellness journey.

Resources:

  1. Axe, Josh. “101 Essential Oil Uses and Benefits.” Dr. Axe, Dr. Axe, 5 Mar. 2018, draxe.com/essential-oil-uses-benefits/#.
  2. “DoTERRA Serenity | DōTERRA Essential Oils.” DoTERRA Fact Sheet | DōTERRA Essential Oils, 16 May 2018, www.doterra.com/US/en/p/doterra-serenity-oil.
  3. “Elevation Joyful Blend | DōTERRA Essential Oils.” DoTERRA Fact Sheet | DōTERRA Essential Oils, 16 May 2018, www.doterra.com/US/en/p/elevation-oil.
  4. “Women's Hormonal Health: Finding Balance | DōTERRA Essential Oils.” DoTERRA Fact Sheet | DōTERRA Essential Oils, 16 May 2018, www.doterra.com/US/en/brochures-magazines-living-winter-2013-2014-womens-hormonal-health.
  5. Zielinski, Eric. The Healing Power of Essential Oils: Soothe Inflammation, Boost Mood, Prevent Autoimmunity, and Feel Great in Every Way. Harmony Books, 2018.

5 Great Ways to Frankincense Oil

Frankincense oil is often called the "King of Oils". The word frankincense is mentioned in the Bible 17 times and the word incense is mentioned 113 times. The word incense was often understood as frankincense, myrrh and other spices. 

Frankincense oil is a great addition to your health and wellness routine. It is associated with helping rejuvenate your skin, help support cellular function, has anti-inflammatory effects, helps improve mood and stress, and may relieve pain. 

Benefits of Using Frankincense Oil

  1. Reduces Signs of Aging: Add a 2 to 3 drops of frankincense oil to your favorite moisturizer to help rejuvinate your skin. You can also add 2 to 3 drops of frankincense to coconut, jojoba, argan or rosehip oil to help reduce the signs of stretch marks. 
  2. Helps Boost Immune System: Frankincense has been shown to help the immune system. It can prevent germs from spreading on the skin, or at home. Diffuse 2 to 3 drops of frankincense oil along with grapefruit to create a pleasant smell or apply the oil to your temples, writs and the soles of your feet. You can also rub 2 to 3 drops on your chest to help you breathe better; especially during cold and flu season.
  3. May help reduce pain & joint inflammation: Frankincense oil has been linked to helping promote and improve circulation, relieve joint and muscle pain.
  4. Helps to focus: Frankincense is commonly used by those who practice yoga. You can add a couple of drops to your yoga mat to help you stay focused on your practice. In addition, you can diffuse up to 5 drops of frankincense while working on a project or while your kids are doing their homework in order to stay focused on the task. 
  5. May Reduce Symptoms of PMS: Frankincense is also associated with helping balance one's hormones. This is not to say that Frankincense adds hormones to your body. It does not contain hormones but that it helps reduce the pain of menstrual cramps, mood swings, headaches, anxiety, and nausea.

Frankincense is a very versatile essential oil that can be used topically and by inhaling. It's a perfect oil to keep at home for those necessary times. 

Safety First: People with problems related to blood clotting should not use frankincense without speaking to their doctor first because it is known to have a blood thinning effect. 

Resources:

  1. Axe, Josh. Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine. Destiny Image Publishers, 2016.
  2. Babcock, Jillian. “What Is Frankincense Oil? 8+ Benefits & Uses for Healing.” Dr. Axe, Dr. Axe, 4 May 2018, draxe.com/what-is-frankincense/#.
  3. “Frankincense Essential Oil Benefits for Mind, Body & Soul.” DrEricZ.com, 10 Jan. 2018, drericz.com/frankincense-essential-oil-benefits/?inf_contact_key=25ba471ecd416d9b07991afab6042285829df5e65ffd52b434d8622122d4ff5b.
  4. “Frankincense Oil Uses and Benefits | DōTERRA Essential Oils.” DoTERRA Fact Sheet | DōTERRA Essential Oils, 21 May 2018, www.doterra.com/US/en/blog/spotlight-frankincense-oil.
  5. Snyder, Mariza. Smart Mom's Guide to Essential Oils: Natural Solutions for a Healthy Family, Toxin-Free Home and Happier You. Pgw, 2017.

5 Essential Oils Safety Tips for Children

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We can never be too cautious when using essential oils on children. Essential oils are very potent and safe but nevertheless must be used correctly to avoid any mishaps. Remember that although essential oils are safe, applying it to children needs to be done carefully because they are very delicate. It's best to test one oil at a time every 24 hours. 

Safety Tip #1: Learn How to Dilute Essential Oils

Only apply 1-2 drops of oil diluted with a carrier oil on a child's skin every 24 hours. Make sure you read the label on the oil. Each oil is different. Applying one drop of lavender topically feels very different than applying one drop of oregano. If diffusing essential oils, only diffuse them 20 minutes a day and no more than twice a day.

Safety Tip #2: Do Not Ingest Oils

I personally don't like the idea of ingesting essential oils. They're very potent and can leave your tummy feeling uneasy. I'm an adult and if I feel uneasy, then I know that giving essential oils to your child will cause more harm.

Safety Tip #3: Avoid Sensitive Areas

Remember, a child's body is more sensitive than an adult's body. For this reason, it is important that you avoid applying essential oils around the eyes, broken skin, irritated skin, inner nose and ears. Also, an adult should be the one to apply essential oils.

Safety Tip #4: Beware of Sunlight Sensitivity

Not all oils are meant to be applied topically with the intention of going outside. One must read the labels of all essential oils. Some oils are prone to sunlight sensitivity. Citrus oils have a higher probability of creating sunlight sensitivity when worn outdoors. Some labels will clearly say to stay out of the sun or UV rays for up to 12 hours. 

Safety Tip #5: Keep Your Essential Oils Safely Stored

Essential oils need to be placed in a medicine cabinet or far away from the reach of little ones. Because essential oils are so potent, they should be not be played with or taken internally. It is important that you supervise your older children when applying essential oils and only an adult should apply essential oils to younger children. 

Knowing these five tips will help you use essential oils wisely when applying them to your children or diluting them around your children. Also, remember to ask your doctor if you want to apply essential oils on your child, especially if your child is under 18 months. 

Resources:

  1. https://www.doterra.com/US/en/promotions-class-powerpoints
  2. https://ultimatebundles.com/sale/heo2018-expert-panel-watch/

2 Ways to Use Essential Oils Safely on Children

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Essential oils are aromatic compounds located in various parts of plants like stems, leaves, bark, seeds, flowers, and other parts of plants. They are very potent and can be diffused, applied topically, and some people even will include a drop of food in their meals, drinks or in a capsule. Not to mention that they have very beautiful fragrant. 

When applying or diffusing essential oils around children, one must know how to do so safely. Although essential oils are typically safe, children tend to be more sensitive to them than adults, which is why it's important to know how to apply them safely on children. If one doesn't know how to use essential oils, they can be unsafe even for adults. 

First, use a brand of essential oils that have a reputation of creating high quality, free of contaminants and is safe to use. This requires testing gives us consumers a peace of mind that we are only using the safest products on us and our children. I personally use doTerra Essential Oils and am very happy with that company's commitment to only deliver the best oils to everyone.

Second, when applying essential oils on children use carrier oils. Essential oils evaporate pretty much on contact and may not be as efficient as when using them with a carrier oil. Carrier oils are the base oils. The oils are virtually oder less and are very hydrating. Great carrier oils include:

  • Avocado Oil: great for dry flaky skin
  • Coconut Oil: great for making body butters. 
  • Fractionated Coconut Oil: fractionated coconut oil is coconut oil that has had the lauric acid removed in order to stay liquid during cold temperatures. 
  • Sweet Almond Oil: nourishes the skin and is great for babies. However, do watch out for itchy skin. My skin get a little sensitive with it. 

Third, the best essential oils for children are lavender, Roman chamomile and Sandalwood. doTerra also has wonderful pre-made essential oil blends called Calming Blend and Grounding Blend, which are great to diffuse in your child's room. 

Finally, the best way to make sure that you are using essential oils safely on children is to first use the essential oils on yourself. Make sure you read the labels and instructions carefully. Educate yourself on a specific essential oil before applying it on your child. 

Safety First: It is important to consult with your child's doctor about any specific health issue before using essential oils on your child. Also, if your child drinks essential oils on accident, call Poison Control 1-800-222-1222. Some of these essential oils can cause lots of harm and in some cases even be deadly when used improperly.

Check out next week's blog post on 5 Essential Oils Tips for Children.

5 Great Ways to Use Lavender Essential Oils

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Lavender essential oil is the most popular oil in the United States. It is a very versatile oil and has such a calming smell, helps with sleep, helps calm anxiety and has been around for centuries. Not to mention it's used a lot in perfume. Today lavender essential oil is used for the following purposes:

  1. Promotes Sleep: Lavender is a great essential oil to help calm one's senses. In 2015, a study showed that women who used lavender oil improved their sleep. You can diffuse 5 drops of lavender essential oil, or apply 2 to 3 drops on your neck, temples and chest, or your can add 5 drops to water and spray it on your pillow.
  2. Helps Soothe Burns and Cuts: Lavender is also antimicrobial agent. So it's able to protect against cuts and infections. For this reason, lavender not only protects against infections but helps soothe the skin. Mix lavender oil with coconut oil or any other carrier oil and apply it to the irritated skin areas. 
  3. Helps Relieve Stress and Anxiety: Lavender oil give one the sense of peace and calm. You can diffuse up to 5 drops of lavender oil or add the oil to a bath and relax in it. You can also apply lavender oil like perfume on your writs, temples and even the soles of your feet. 
  4. Helps Soothe headaches and Migraines: Diffusing lavender with peppermint can help relive your headache. You can also add 2 drops lavender mixed with 2 drops of peppermint and apply it to your temples and the back of your neck.
  5. Encourages Youthful Skin: Lavender helps nourish dry skin. You can add 1-2 drops of lavender to your moisturizer for addition support. Lavender along with frankincense helps boost skin beauty. 

These are just a few ways that lavender helps improve your everyday health and wellness. If you haven't added lavender to your collection do so today! 

Resources:

  1. Axe, Josh. “10 Lavender Oil Benefits for Major Diseases & Minor Ailments.” Dr. Axe, Dr. Axe, 22 Mar. 2018, draxe.com/lavender-oil-benefits/.
  2. Axe, Josh. Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine. Destiny Image Publishers, 2016.
  3. “Dr. EricZ Members Site.” Live the Abundant Live, members.drericz.com/eheoclub/discovery/lavender/.
  4. Snyder, Mariza. Smart Mom's Guide to Essential Oils: Natural Solutions for a Healthy Family, Toxin-Free Home and Happier You. Pgw, 2017.

Eat the Rainbow

The thought of eating the rainbow can be difficult to think of. I mean, how do you eat the rainbow throughout the day? Not to mention that putting together a meal can be very confusing because of all the information that is out there. Some people say to load up of animal protein, others on greens. However, many nutritionists, medical doctors and registered dietitians nutritionists agree that it is important to eat the rainbow. This means, to eat foods of all colors and not just stick to one color. All foods that come from the earth have something very special to offer. 

Red Foods
About 74% of Americans don't eat enough red foods. Red foods help DNA health, protects against heart disease and cancer, supports your urinary tract and prostate. Red foods are full of antioxidants and help strengthen your immune system. Red foods can be found in berries, red fruits and vegetables and red beans. You can eat a cup of berries as a snack or as part of an afternoon smoothie. 

Orange and Yellow Foods
About 80% of Americans don't eat enough orange and yellow foods. Orange and yellow foods support your vision, strengthen your immunity system and are part of your overall health, growth and development. They are also full of antioxidants that help strengthen your immune system. Yellow and orange foods include pineapples, potatoes, corn, yellow zucchini, bananas, oranges, persimmons all of which are easy to include in your daily meals by mixing them up. You can add a banana and pineapples to your smoothie or eat oranges and carrots as a snack.

Green Foods

About 69% of Americans don't eat enough green foods. Greens help support our eyes, liver, clean out our arteries, cell turnover, promotes gum health and wound healing as well as keeps our bones strong, improve body odor, help speed up healing process. These are foods like spinach, kale, lettuce. You can make green smoothies as well as salads with these foods. We should eat 1 cup of cruciferous greens like broccoli, arugula or kale and 2 cups of leafy greens like romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce or red lettuce. This will help us get all the quality greens in our system. You get all of your daily greens in my Fountain of Youth Smoothie.

Blue, Violet and Black Foods
About 79% of Americans don't eat enough blue, violet or black foods. These darker colored foods help support our brain, bones, heart and artery health. They also are full of antioxidants and help boost our memory and help protect us against cancer. These foods include black beans, berries and eggplant. You can make dinner meals with black beans or include blueberries and black berries into your smoothie.

White and Brown Foods
White foods are easy to overlook and or be overeaten. White foods foods are great anticancer and anti-inflammatory foods. They also support your immune system, help lower blood pressure and help control your cholesterol. These are foods like grains, nuts, soy and mushrooms. You can make dinner meals with these foods. They should never be overlooked or seen as bad foods. Eat 1 to 2 tablespoons of nut butter and 2 to 3 cups of a whole grain. 

Eating the rainbow and getting foods from different categories will help you get a well balanced diet as well as optimum health.

Resources

  1. Greger, M. (2015). How not to die: Discover the foods scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease. New York, NY: Flatiron Books.
  2. Hever, J. (2014). The Vegiterranean Diet. Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press.
  3. Olien, D. Superlife: The 5 simple fixes that will make you healthy, fit and eternally awesome. New York, NY: Harper Wave.
  4. Talib, N. (2016). Younger Skin Starts in the Gut: 4-week program to identify and eliminate your skin-aging triggers - gluten, wine, dairy and sugar. Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press. 
     

Essential Oils Safety During Pregnancy

Although essential oils are natural, pregnant women need to be extra careful with them. Not all essential oils are safe during pregnancy because they can mess with your hormones. First thing you should do is speak with your doctor or health care provider and see if using essential oils is right for you. So before you or someone you know that is pregnant wants to start incorporating essential oils into their routine, please read this article first. 

Essential Oils that should NOT be used during pregnancy are the following: 

  • Angelica
  • Aniseed
  • Basil
  • Birch 
  • Black pepper
  • Cedarwood
  • Camphor
  • Cardamom
  • Cassia
  • Cinnamon
  • Citronella
  • Clary sage
  • Clove
  • Cumin
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fennel
  • Fir
  • Geranium (during the first trimester)
  • Horseradish
  • Hyssop
  • Idaho tansy
  • Jasmine
  • Juniper
  • Lemongrass
  • Manuka
  • Marjoram
  • Melissa
  • Mugwort
  • Mustard
  • Myrrh
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Pennyroyal
  • Roman Chamomile (Debatable. Ask your doctor.)
  • Rosemary
  • Rose
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Wintergreen

The following essential oils are considered safe during pregnancy:

  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Ginger
  • Grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Peppermint
  • Roman Chamomile (Debatable. Ask your doctor.)
  • Sandalwood
  • Ylang Ylang

Roman Chamomile, lavender, geranium and grapefruit are great essential oils to dilute and diffuse to encourage restful sleep. Inhaling ginger can help with nausea. And applying carrier oils like rosehip oil and coconut oil on your tummy can help minimize the looks of stretch marks. 

If you know someone who is expecting, please forward them this blog so they are more informed about which essential oils to avoid. 

Resources

  1. Axe, Josh. Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine. Destiny Image Publishers, 2016.
  2. Babcock, Jillian. “CHEAT SHEET: How to Use Essential Oils Safety.” Dr. Axe, Dr. Axe, 7 May 2018, draxe.com/essential-oil-safety/.
  3. Snyder, Mariza. Smart Mom's Guide to Essential Oils: Natural Solutions for a Healthy Family, Toxin-Free Home and Happier You. Pgw, 2017.

5 Steps to Optimum Meal Planning

Recently, I've been doing a good job planning out my meals. I mean I've been planning out my meals for a while but my grocery list and my meal plans didn't always match. I would either add too much food or not include all the ingredients I needed to make a meal. 

Being sloppy when meal planning can actually become expensive. This is why it's so good to have a system in place when meal planning.

  1. Have a meal planning calendar: I purchased a white board meal planning week calendar. I love this calendar because it allows me to see what I plan to eat for each meal the whole week. This allows me to make a good grocery list that matches what I have planned for the week. 
  2. Fill out your calendar with recipes from 3 to 5 cook books. Don't worry if you eat very similarly every week. I do too. 
  3. Write down all of the ingredients you need based on your calendar. Try not to astray. Write down everything you plan to eat and then purchase all of the foods needed. Next, go to you cupboards and see if there's anything you're running out of and add it to your grocery list. 
  4. Go shopping on your own. You can very well go shopping on your own and purchase everything you have on that list. Try not to go astray. 
  5. Have someone else go shopping for you. I personally don't go grocery shopping anymore. Really because I have two little girls and it's very difficult to go to the store with them. I order food through Amazon Prime and or Shipt. I love purchasing my weekly groceries through them because I save money. I save money because my eyes aren't wandering. It's the best way to purchase food in my opinion. 

Once you create this habit of meal planning, making a grocery list and going grocery shopping, you will see how much easier it is to eat healthy, purchase quality food, and save money.

7 Great Ways to Use Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint oil is a great staple oil to have at home at all times because it's so versatile. Peppermint oil is invigorating and gives energy to a room. Listed below are seven great ways to use peppermint oil in your home. 

  1. Helps You Breathe With Ease: Whether you choose to inhale peppermint oil from the bottle or diffuse it, peppermint oil helps promote healthy breathing. You can also dilute 2 to 4 drops peppermint oil with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil and apply it to you chest, back, and neck. You can also add 10 drops to boiling water and breathe the aroma for 5 minutes. 
  2. Helps Relieve Muscle and Joint Tension: For muscle tension you can apply 2 to 4 drops of peppermint oil with a carrier oil and apply it to the area that is feeling sore. You can also add lavender oil to the blend to help with joints.
  3. Helps Boost Energy: This is a great oil to take on a trip where you may start feeling tired. Peppermint oil can actually help combat fatigue and promote concentration and focus. You can swipe some on the car or add some to your dilute some onto your writs, temples, and back of your neck. 
  4. Helps With Allergies: You can diffuse oil in your home to help with allergies or dilute 2 to 4 drops onto your forehead, chest, and neck. 
  5. Helps With Headache Relief: You can add one drop to your temples and neck to help relieve tension in your head. You can also add one drop in a hot shower and inhale the aroma. Another way to add 2 to 4 drops to a cold water compress and place on your forehead when overheated. You can also place your feet in cold water and add 2 to 4 drops to help.
  6. Helps Repel Bugs: You can actually keep bugs and ticks from getting close to you from applying peppermint oil into a spray bottle. You can dilute 2 to 4 drops of peppermint oil with a carrier oil and apply it to you as well. 
  7. Help Tummy Issues: Peppermint oil can help with nausea, gas and bloating. Dilute 2 to 4 drops of peppermint oil with a carrier oil and apply it to your tummy or diffuse it in your home. 

Safety First

There are just some ways to use essential oils safely. It is very important to use oils safely and effectively. There are also some medications that may interact with peppermint oil, so make sure to speak with your healthcare provider if you're using medication and want to incorporate peppermint oil into your life. 

Resources:

  1. Axe, Josh. Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine. Destiny Image Publishers, 2016.
  2. DoTerra EssentialDoTerra Essential
  3. “Dr. EricZ Members Site.” Live the Abundant Live, members.drericz.com/eheoclub/discovery/peppermint/.

Beware of Parfum & Fragrance

Have you guys seen the ingredients fragrance or parfum in your skincare, makeup, haircare, body care products? These ingredients are one in the same...except that they are also mystery ingredients and no one really knows wha they are except that they are a blend of chemicals put together in a lab to mimic the smell of a natural element. 

So instead of using essential oils, which are directly derived from plants, companies will use fragrance or parfum because it's less expensive. Even some of the most "natural", "organic", products will still contain fragrance or parfum because those labels don't mean all ingredients are natural or organic but just some. 

Fragrance and parfum are known to be disruptive to your hormones and may give you allergic reactions. The chemical blend to make such fragrance or parfum is unknown and varies from company to company. Even if the label says "natural fragrance", very little is known about what ingredients create the "natural fragrance" blend. Is it essential oils or is the blend mimicking a natural scent?

Fragrances or parfums are not tested for safety. I personally get horrible headaches if the smell of the fragrance or parfum is too strong...even if the smell is pretty. 

When looking at the ingredients of your favorite products make sure that they are using essential oils. Essential oils have many benefits when applying topically and into your hair. They are diluted and blended to create quality hair products, skincare, body care products. 

All of the ingredients should be disclosed and not hidden under the words fragrance or parfum. 

I know that sometimes we turn a blind eye because we want the product to work. But even if it does work, you might get a side effect that could have been avoided if one had just done more research. 

I challenge you this weekend to go through all your products and remove products containing fragrance and parfum and notice what differences you may experience as a result. 

How to Safely Use Essential Oils Topically

Our skin is the largest organ on the human body and it is for that reason that we need to take care of our skin and treat it well because it is very delicate. When we place essential oils onto our skin, the oil literally is absorbed into our bloodstream. 

To make the most of your oils, make sure to dilute it with a carrier oil. If you just place it on your skin, it can literally evaporate into the skin while if you dilute it with a carrier oil, you can spread the essential oil and allow it to do more for you.

The best places to place your oils are on the head and neck region, the chest, stomach and back, your arms including hands and fingers, and your legs including your toes and feet. My favorite place to add essential oils is to the head and neck, tummy, and legs and feet. 

Again, it is very, very important to dilute them. One of the more popular carrier oils is fractionated coconut oil. However, there are many carrier oils out there that are great for diluting your oils. 

Essential oils are very potent and can cause a negative reaction if you're using them improperly or if your body's chemistry doesn't react well to that essential oil. You may get rashes, bumps, sores, which is why using essential oils directly on the skin is not the best way to use essential oils. In addition, if you apply certain essential oils like bergarmont and citrus oils directly on your skin and then go outside, you can have extreme burning and skin sensitivity. 

Lastly, if you're going to use essential oils on children, it is especially important to dilute the essential oil because children can be especially sensitive to essential oils. And for any children under two do not apply essential oils just dilute them and remember to have a window opened or a fan blowing.

Remember that essential oils are great to increase your health and wellness but not diluting them can cause a negative reaction. Make sure to dilute them before applying them directly on the skin. 

P.S. If you are new to oils and want to learn how to use them safely and effectively, join my How to Oils Facebook group. I would love to have you there! 

Resources:

  1. DoTerra EssentialDoTerra Essential.
  2. Zielinski , Dr. Eric. “Essential Oils for Abundant Living Masterclass: Lesson 3.” YouTube, YouTube, 9 Jan. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYp-MviY6Mk.

4 Ways to Enjoy Essential Oils Smell

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Do you ever get headaches from certain smells, even if they're very "subtle"? I absolutely do. Especially strong potent smells. Most of the smells that give me a headache come from synthetic fragrances. These are chemically made fragrances that are meant to mimic a natural scent.

These synthetic fragrances have been linked to autoimmune disorders, Alzheimer's disease, dementia and even cancer. Although it's difficult to get away from synthetic fragrances all together, it is possible create a lifestyle to minimize one's exposure to synthetic fragrances. 

Inhaling different essential oils can improve one's mood and purify there are of unwanted smells and odors. It's also the safest way to use essential oils. Listed below are just a few examples of how essential oils can help:

  • Inhaling peppermint oil can help boost energy levels
  • Inhaling lemon oil can help decrease nausea
  • Inhaling orange oil can help with depression

When creating blends, rotate the essential oils. You can make calming blends as part of your night time routine or invigorating blends as a wonderful way to start the day. To fully enjoy the experience of essential oils, try one or more of the four ways to enjoy the smell of essential oils:

  1. Diffusers: Add water to the fill line then add 5-7 drops of oil in the water. Place the diffuser on a cloth of some sort to absorb any oil and to not damage your furniture. 
  2. Opening up a bottle and smelling the scent.
  3. Cupping: put a drop in your hand, rub your hands and place by your nose and take a deep breathe. Great for anyone who needs support with nausea, anxiety and stress. 
  4. Spritzer: You can create hand sanitizers or create personalized perfume by mixing oils with a carrier oil. 

Safety tip:

If you have children or pets, make sure you always use a diffuser in a ventilated room. You don't want to lock the smell in a room because it can agitate them. 

These are just a few ways to enjoy the smell of essential oils. Let me know below, which way you want to try next time.

P.S. If you're interested in learning more about essential oils and learning how to use them safely and effectvely, join my How to Oils facebook group. 

Resources

  1. “Safety and Usage.” DōTERRA Essential Oils, 20 Mar. 2018, www.doterra.com/US/en/blog/science-for-kids-safety-and-usage.
  2. Zielinski , Dr. Eric. “Essential Oils for Abundant Living Masterclass: Lesson 2.” YouTube, YouTube, 9 Jan. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_D4iNnUJnM.

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils have been around since the beginning of time. Essential oils are very potent and can be harmful if not used properly. Some essential oils can burn your skin if not applied properly. So it's important that you know what you're doing when it comes to using essential oils. 

Essential oils represent nature in its most concentrated from. They come from seeds, bark, stems, flowers, roots, spices, and other parts of plants. Essential oils can be powerful and fragrant depending on the plant and are not oily. Over the course of history, essential oils have been used as part of skincare, health-care practices and in some cases part of food preparation, however they do not contain any nutritional value. 

When you're purchase essential oils, make sure you're purchasing high quality essential oils that are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) because they don't contain added fillers or harmful contaminants and are pure and authentic. Unfortunately, up to 75% of all oils in the market are corrupt. Each company creates its own standards, so it comes to trust when it comes to purchasing oils from a company.

Please do not purchase from just any website like Amazon because you don't know if those essential oils are really quality. Stick to companies that take pride in making sure they deliver the best quality oils to you like doTerra.

Lastly, oils can be used applied aromatically, topically and internally. Whichever way you chose to use the oil, it is important that you do it safely. Essential Oils are very potent and one can cause harm if one doesn't know how to use them properly. 

So, this is lesson one on how what are essential oils. Next week I will break down how to use essential oils in a safe manner. 

Mirley xo

P.S. If you are new to oils and want to learn how to use them safely and effectively, join my How to Oils Facebook group. I would love to have you there! 

Resources

  1. DoTerra EssentialDoTerra Essential.
  2. Zielinski , Dr. Eric. “Essential Oils for Abundant Living Masterclass: Quick Start Guide.” YouTube, YouTube, 16 Jan. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=To9wlgsrlPg.
  3. Zielinski , Dr. Eric. “Essential Oils for Abundant Living Masterclass: Lesson 1.” YouTube, YouTube, 13 Apr. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Pjc9Gv8fis.

Three Reasons Why Simple is Better

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Last week I talked about simplifying your kitchen. If you haven't read that article, you can find that article here. I mentioned all the places you can find clutter and what stuff you can get rid of. Even now after I did my decluttering, I still find things that I could have gotten rid of. 

This week I want to talk about the benefits of decluttering you kitchen. The fact is that simple is better. Although I love museums and go to one every chance I get...but I honestly don't want my house to look like a museum but a resort. 

Here are the benefits of having a clutter free kitchen: 

1. It's safer

I have a toddler and having too many sharp utensil can be dangerous. Fortunately I don't have a climber but nevertheless I need to make sure everything is in it's place. When one has too many sharp objects, it can be very easy to forget about them and accidents can happen. It's always best to have what is necessary to avoid any kind of dangerous accidents. 

2. It's beautiful

We all love those magazines with the beautiful kitchens. If you notice, the one common theme in all of the kitchens is that they don't have a lot of things. Those kitchens have what is necessary. The kitchen looks spotless and inviting. Just having a kitchen with less things is also stress free. There is something about more space that brings peace to the mind.

3. It's easier to clean

I know many of us love clean rooms, homes and things...but we dread the cleaning process. However, when you have less stuff, it's a lot easier to clean your space. Too many things makes the cleaning process that much worse. 

If you haven't decluttered your kitchen yet, make sure to schedule some time and remove all the items you don't use. You'll see how much more you'll love your kitchen and home.

Mirley xo